As I mentioned before, I have been trying to see the tomb of Edith Piaf for two days now. Yesterday there were Navigo delays, but today was worse. After we rode the Metro down to Père-Lachaise Cemetary and managed to find the entrance, we were sadly disappointed to discover that it was closed. Some of the sidewalks were said to be slippery, so they closed the whole complex down. Once again, I missed the “Little Sparrow.”
Paris is kind of crazy right now with all of the snow and ice. It turns out that the city has no winter equipment or anything like that because the weather is never like this, so places are shutting down. The gardens at Versailles are closed too because of ice! It reminds me of when I went to Branson and there was a mild snowstorm that was completely harmless, yet since it’s Branson and warm, the local news crew had a heyday and called the weather “treacherous”. Everything here is covered now in fine gravel and salt, so the roads have become very ugly.
Because of my Winter-Depression-Vitamin-D-Difficiancy-Lack-Of-Energy disease, I am in constant need of sugary snacks. Thankfully, we brought Smarties (the greatest candy on Earth) with us, so I am able to munch on them to wake me up. They are very addictive and drug like–sometimes I like to eat an excess of six rolls at a time and enter a sugar high. It’s fun and legal!
With a newfound kick of motivation, I went to the Metro to leave for school. I listened to my iPod this time, which made the ride go so much faster and more pleasantly. I was listening to the song “How Long Has This Been Going On” by Kristin Chenoweth (Audrey Hepburn originally sang this song in the cinematic masterpiece Funny Face—I approve of her role in this film, and most movies she did, except for that overrated crapload Breakfast at Tiffany’s, total waste of time) and was highly amused when the last note of the song played and it was the exact same pitch as the bell on the train. They both started at the same time, so that was delightful, at least to me.
I got to the school about a half hour early, so I got changed in the smallest locker room in the world. Seriously, it probably has 12 square feet of open space (but it wasn’t a square shaped open space, it is little hallways about a foot and a half wide) and the rest is filled with deep lockers, which are nice, but there was no room to get changed. Everybody was complaining about the silly lockers, “We payed $50,000!,we expect breathing room!” and “Not even a mirror!”
After I got dressed, my confusion became apparent when I looked on the schedule. The room I was supposed to go to was something like D1ereELBP which made no sense. We weren’t shown that room on the tour yesterday. The girl I knew from yesterday and myself were both thoroughly confused about what we were supposed to do. We kind of fell into the appropriate room and sat in the second row in front of the weird hippie, which mildly irritated me.
Today’s lesson was a bit odd. The chef made things that we aren’t supposed to make because you can get them from suppliers cheaply and they taste better. It was bizarre, he made pralines and fondant amongst other things, but, they weren’t pralines or fondant like I’m familiar with. I thought that a praline was a cookie, but I found out later that this is an American recreation, it is really more like peanut brittle only made with various nuts. To me, fondant is the smooth, moldable, matte icing that you put over cake to make it look nice. The fondant that they make is more like a frosting and it doesn’t serve the same purpose at all, so that was weird. He taught us all about chocolate, which was very interesting. I didn’t know the elaborate process that went into making chocolate. It is fermented like wine…who knew…not me.
Once Chef was finished demoing all of the foods we were free to go and try them. The Asian students all ran to the front and immediately began taking hundreds of pictures of the various foods we are never going to make. Then they tasted everything and refused to move. I pushed through and tried the fondant, which had lemon in it. Very tasty.
After class, we were all rather concerned about the friendliness of the Chef and staff. From our readings, and general awareness, we all assumed (and still do) that this is supposed to be a scary place full of misery and eventual acceptance by the hard on the outside, but true softy on the inside, Chef, and when over, be filled with a sense of accomplishment and camaraderie. But this works too.
I got changed and arranged my locker and left. I crossed the street to get a baguette to eat on the Metro ride home. Bread is so cheap here, it was only one euro, and that is considered expensive!
I entered the Metro station and walked to my entrance. As I passed through the turnstile, the sound of maniacal laughter rang in my ears. An old crone, literally, was pacing up and down the waiting area, pointing at us all and laughing hysterically. Me and the hundred other people waiting for the train all packed ourselves in a corner leaving her with most of the space to laugh and act creepy. I’m still a little petrified of her.
As I exited the station for home, I stopped to read a sign on the Metro stop. It was about the architecture of the ironwork that hosts the stop name. It turns out that in the early 20th century, when the Metro was built, the Parisians were very afraid of the Metro stops, because at night they look like monsters (and they do!).
Then I was home, so I ate spaghetti.